Reading List by Topic

This list was compiled by members of staff at Lancaster University Department of Linguistics and English Language and aims to include the most up-to-date and accessible books on a range of topics relevant to A-level English Language.

History of the English Language

  • C. Baugh and T. Cable A History of the English Language A. RKP l 978 3rd edition ISBN 0415093791
  • Culpeper, J. (1997) History of English. Routledge
  • Docherty, Gerry and Paul Foulkes (eds.) (1999): Urban voices : variation and change in British accents. London, Arnold.
  • Knowles, Gerry, 1997. A Cultural History of the English Language. Edward Arnold
  • B.Strang 1970 A History of English. Methuen


  • Levinson, S.C. (1983): Pragmatics. Cambridge University Press.
  • Mey, J. 1993. Pragmatics: an Introduction. Blackwell.
  • Thomas, Jenny (1996). Meaning and Interaction: an Introduction to Pragmatics.

Discourse Analysis / Media Analysis

  • Fairclough, Norman (1989): Language and Power. London, Longman
  • Fairclough, N. 1992. Discourse and Social Change. Polity.
  • Fairclough, N. 1995. Media Discourse. London: Edward Arnold.
  • Fairclough, N. 1995. Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Longman.
  • Fowler, R. et al. (eds.) 1979. Language and Control. London: Routledge.
  • Kress, G. and R. Hodge. 1979. Language as Ideology. London: Routledge.
  • Kress, G. and T. van Leeuwen. 1996. Reading Images. London: Routledge
  • Simpson, P. Language, Ideology and Point of View,
  • Wodak, R. 1996. Disorders of Discourse. Longman.

News analysis:

  • Fiske, J. (1987): Television Culture. Methuen.
  • Fowler, R (1991) Language in the News. Routledge.
    • (In-depth linguistic analysis of news stories in the print media, showing how they produce their effects.)
  • Fowler, R., Hodge, R., Kress, G. and Trew, T. (1979): Language and Control.
  • Routledge.
  • Glasgow University Media Group: (Now-classic analyses of programme content)
    • - (1976): Bad News. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.
    • - (1980): More Bad News. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.
    • - (1982): Really Bad News. Readers and Writers.
    • - (1985): War and Peace News. Open University Press.

Sociolinguistics (general)

  • Bell, R. (1976): Sociolinguistics: goals, approaches and problems. London, Batsford.
  • Docherty, Gerry and Paul Foulkes (eds.) (1999): Urban voices : variation and change in British accents. London, Arnold.
  • Downes, W (1998): Language and Society. Cambridge University Press. (This is a new edition, with a new publisher, of the 1984 edition)
  • Fasold, R. (1990): The sociolinguistics of society. Oxford, Blackwell.
  • Giglioli, P. P. (ed.) (1972): Language and social context: selected readings. Penguin.
  • Holmes, J. Holmes, Janet (1992) An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. London: Longman.
  • Hudson, R. (1980): Sociolinguistics. Cambridge University Press.
  • Mesthrie, R., Swann, J., Deumert, A and Leap, W. (2000) Introducing Sociolinguistics. Edinburgh University Press.
  • Pride, J.B. and Holmes, J. (eds.) (1972): Sociolinguistics. Penguin.
  • Romaine, S. (1994): Language in Society. Oxford University Press.
  • Trudgill, P (1974/1990): Sociolinguistics: an introduction. Penguin.
  • Trudgill, Peter and Jenny Cheshire (eds.) (1998): The Sociolinguistics Reader Volume 1: Multilingualism and Variation. London, Edward Arnold.
  • Wardhaugh, R. (1986): An introduction to sociolinguistics. Oxford, Blackwell.

Bilingualism (especially in the British context)

  • Alladina, S. and Edwards, V. (1991): Multilingualism in the British Isles. Longman. In two volumes.
  • Appel, R. and Muysken, P. (1987): Language Contact and Bilingualism. London, Edward Arnold.
  • Dorian, N. (1981): Language death: the life cycle of a Scottish Gaelic dialect. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Gal, S. (1979) Language Shift. New York, Academic Press.
  • Grosjean, F. 1982. Life with Two Languages. Harvard UP.
  • Gumperz, J.J. (1982): Discourse strategies. Cambridge University Press.
  • Hoffmann, C. (1991): An introduction to bilingualism. Longman,.
  • Linguistic Minorities Project (1985): The Other Languages of England. Routledge.
  • Li Wei (1994): Three generations, two languages, one family. Clevedon, Multilingual Matters.
  • Romaine, S. (1995): Bilingualism. Blackwell. Second edition.

Pidgins and Creoles

(This list was compiled by Mark Sebba)

More about Pidgin and Creole languages: visit the Creolists' Home Page

  • SEBBA, Mark (1997): Contact Languages: Pidgins and Creoles. Macmillan.
    • (A textbook aimed at second year undergraduate level or higher, but with numerous texts and exercises, some of which should be suitable for A-level.)
  • TODD, L. (1990): Pidgins and Creoles. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.
    • This book gives you a brief, though somewhat dated, view of the field.
  • TODD, L. (1984): Modern Englishes: Pidgins and Creoles. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • ROMAINE, S (1988): Pidgin and Creole Languages. London, Longman.
    • A detailed account, by a linguist. Requires some specialist knowledge.
  • SUTCLIFFE, D and WONG, A (eds.): The language of the Black Experience (Blackwell, 1986).

Additional Biblography

  • CASSIDY, F. and LE PAGE, R.B. (1980): Dictionary of Jamaican English. Cambridge University Press.
  • DAVIDSON, Basil: Black Mother. Penguin Books.
    • (A readable and historically careful account of the Slave Trade. Nothing about linguistics, though.)
  • EDWARDS, V.K. (1979): The West Indian language issues in British schools: challenges and responses. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul.
    • (Full of very relevant material at the time of publication; now out of date.)
  • EDWARDS, V.K. (1986): Language in a Black community. Cleveden (Avon), Multilingual Matters.
  • GILROY, P. (1987): There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack. London, Hutchinson.
  • HALL, Robert A. (1966): Pidgin and Creole Languages. Cornell University Press.
    • (A somewhat dated view from the person who re-started pidgin and creole studies in the post-World War II period.)
  • HEWITT, R. (1986): White Talk Black Talk. Cambridge University Press.
    • An account of research into inter-racial friendships in London, as symbolised through language. Fascinating, but not an easy read.
  • HOLM, J. (1989) Pidgins and Creoles. In two vols. Volume I: Theory and structure. Volume II: Reference survey. Cambridge University Press.
  • LANGUAGE AND POWER (1990): ILEA Carribean Language and Literacy Project.
    • Harcourt. Brace, Jovanavich.
    • ISBN 0746619278
    • (Photocopiable units. Title now sold by Harper Collins. Contact AMS Educational Tel.01532 580309)
  • LE PAGE, R.B. and TABOURET-KELLER, A. (1985): Acts of Identity: Creole-based approaches to language and ethnicity. Cambridge University Press.
  • MÜHLHÄUSLER, P. (1986): Pidgin and Creole Linguistics. London, Blackwell
    • (An important book, for the advanced student.)
  • SEBBA, Mark (1986): London Jamaican and Afro-Caribbean London English. In: The language of the Black experience, edited by D. Sutcliffe and A. Wong. Oxford, Blackwell.
  • SEBBA, Mark (1993): London Jamaican: language systems in interaction. London, Longman.
  • STONE, Maureen (1981): The education of the Black child in Britain. Fontana Paperbacks. (Not specifically on language issues)
  • SUTCLIFFE, David (1982): British Black English. Oxford, Blackwell.
    • (The first British publication devoted to a linguistic description of creole in Britain; written for non-linguists, and easy to understand. However, misleading or wrong on some points (the author has changed his views on some things); therefore, read with caution.)

Second language acquisition

  • Cook, V. (1993): Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition. London, Macmillan.


Suggestions for entries are welcome. 


  • Aitchison, Jean (1994): Words in the mind : an introduction to the mental lexicon. - 2nd ed. Oxford, Blackwell. ISBN: 0631189211


  • Langford, D (1994): Analysing Talk: Investigating Interaction in English. London, Macmillan.
  • Nofsinger, R.B. (1991) Everyday Conversation. Sage.
  • Wardhaugh, R. (1985): How conversation works. Oxford : Blackwell. 


  • Barton, D. 1994. Literacy: an Introduction to the Ecology of Written Language. Blackwell.
  • Street, B. (ed.) 1993. Cross-cultural Approaches to Literacy. CUP.
  • Perera, K. 1984. Children's Writing and Reading: Analysing Classroom Language. Blackwell. 

Phonetics and phonology

Suggestions for entries are welcome. 


  • Katamba, F.X. (1993): Morphology. (London: Macmillan). 

Sign Language

  • Brennan, M. (1992): the visual world of BSL: an introduction by Mary Brennan. In D. Brien (ed.), Dictionary of British Sign Language. (London: Faber and Faber). 


  • Carter, R. & M.N. Long. 1987. The Web of Words: Exploring literature through language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Carter, R. & W. Nash 1990. Seeing through language: A guide to styles of English writing. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • Carter, R., Language and Literature, Unwin Hyman 1982
  • Carter, R. and Burton, D., Literary Text and Language Study, Arnold, 1982,
  • Durant, A, & Fabb, N. Literary Studies in Action, Routledge 1990
  • Semino, E. (1997) Language and World Creation in Poems and Other Texts. Longman
  • Short, M. 1996. Exploring the Language of Plays, Poems and Prose. Longman.
  • Short, M. (ed.) Reading, Analysing and Teaching Literature. Longman.
  • Simpson, P., Language Through Literature: An Introduction, Routledge
  • Simpson, P. Language, Ideology and Point of View 

Gender studies

  • Coates, J. 1987. Women, Men and Language. Longman.
  • Graddol, D. and J. Swann. 1989. Gender Voices. Blackwell.
  • Johnson, Sally A. 1997. Language and masculinity (co-author Ulrike Meinhof). Oxford : Blackwell.
  • Sunderland, J. 1994. Exploring Gender: Questions and Implications for English Language Education. Prentice Hall.
  • Talbot, Mary 1999. Language and Gender: An Introduction. Polity Press.
  • Trudgill, Peter and Jenny Cheshire (eds.) (1998): The Sociolinguistics Reader Volume 2: Gender and Discourse. London, Edward Arnold.